Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

End of Bibblio RCM includes -->
5/5/2021
03:05 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail

Wanted: The (Elusive) Cybersecurity 'All-Star'

Separate workforce studies by (ISC) 2 and ISACA point to the need for security departments to work with existing staff to identify needs and bring entry-level people into the field.

Security managers trying to hire new staff this year and beyond face some tough realities: Top-level security superstars are hard to find, if they exist at all. Some security budgets are tightening. And there's a startling lack of "soft" communications skills among security professionals.

These are the key trends found in two recent and separate studies of the security workforce by noted security industry groups ISACA and (ISC)². Both studies advise security managers to start by consulting the Workforce Framework for Cybersecurity (NICE Framework), the 800-181 document published by NIST.

“The Fortune 50 companies may have a good idea on what a cybersecurity department should look like, but there are even large and certainly midsize companies that are still struggling to figure this out,” says Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)².

And Jonathan Brandt, information security professional practices lead at ISACA, notes that when people search online job sites, there are so many different job titles and classifications that it confuses employers and job seekers alike.

"Basically, security teams need three types of people: analysts who look at anomalies and patterns in the alerts, engineers who set security controls and manage endpoints and networks, and finally architects, the people who keep track of emerging technology and figure out which new products to acquire," Brandt says.

One of the main findings in the (ISC)² study is that top security talent – so-called "all-stars" – are difficult to come by and often don't actually exist. While all teams need a top player and someone who can serve as a mentor, Rosso says companies have to stop looking strictly for the all-stars and think in terms of the people they really need to run a security department.

"Businesses need to play the long game," she says. "Try to engage your existing security staff and ask them what they think the department needs. Then decide what you can realistically spend to bring people in at the entry levels. Think about it the way a baseball team needs a top pitcher, but they also need utility infielders, pinch-hitters, and relief pitchers.”

Companies need to do a better job at tapping the expertise of their existing staff, as well as attracting a more diverse workforce, says Rosso. 

For example, the (ISC)² data found the percentage of women working in cybersecurity roles decreases as tenure increases. While 37% of the professional group with three or less years of experience are women, only 28% of the group with eight or more years of experience are women. This may indicate that more women are joining the profession, but Rosso says it may also suggest that women may not find enough advancement opportunities as they progress in the field. 

The (ISC)² data also found that 42% of women working in non-IT jobs are interested in a cyber career, versus 29% of women who are already in an IT role.

The ISACA data indicates that companies are responding: Forty-three percent said they are attacking the cyberskills gap by increasing training of non-security staff who want to move into cyber roles. And another 23% of ISACA respondents said their companies have increased "reskilling" programs.

Some Security Budgets Will Decline
Businesses will have to do more of this, not only because of the lack of cyber talent, but also because budgets will continue to shrink, says ISACA's Brandt.

While 47% said they expect security budgets to increase in 2021, some 20% think they will decrease this year. Brandt says that’s an indication that the pandemic has decreased revenues at many businesses and they will have less to spend on cyber.

"In many ways, it's simple economics," Brandt says. "If revenues go down, so will expenditures. So until we come out of the pandemic, security teams can expect tighter budgets."

Source: ISACA State of Cybersecurity 2021 Part 1 report
Source: ISACA State of Cybersecurity 2021 Part 1 report

Security professionals also agree that a broad array of soft skills are important for success in cybersecurity. When asked in the (ISC)² study to select their top two, analytical thinking (34%) and problem-solving (33%) were valued more than skills like business acumen (10%), leadership (10%), and project management (7%).

The ISACA study took a much more strident stance on soft skills: More than half (56%) of ISACA respondents said security professionals today lack soft skills, such as communications, flexibility, and leadership. That's more than the lack of technical skills, such as endpoint and network management (36%) and coding skills (31%).

"We have gotten so caught up in technical skills that we've forgotten that what companies really need are people who can explain all the technical analysis in concise, understandable terms," says ISACA’s Brandt, who this month will participate on a panel at the 2021 RSA Conference about the ISACA study. "We need security people who can show top management that they understand what business they're in."

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
//Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Billzabob
Billzabob,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/6/2021 | 3:54:10 AM
Bullshit
I've heard about shortages in IT for 3 decades now, and it's all just smoke, mirrors & bullshit. The real problem is companies don't want to pay for the help they so desparately claim to need! It's the only industry where the demand goes up, the supply goes down and the price goes down! I'm a contractor with 30 years experience... i was working on cyber security BEFORE it was called cyber security! I'm currently looking for part time work only, and you'd think that companies would be begging me to work for them, but it's just not true... companies want the expertise and experience, but do not want to pay for it! So, continue to complain & whine about not finding talent... Meanwhile China & other nation states are infiltrating our infrastructures as easily as a hot knife goes thru butter!
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Machine Learning, AI & Deep Learning Improve Cybersecurity
Machine intelligence is influencing all aspects of cybersecurity. Organizations are implementing AI-based security to analyze event data using ML models that identify attack patterns and increase automation. Before security teams can take advantage of AI and ML tools, they need to know what is possible. This report covers: -How to assess the vendor's AI/ML claims -Defining success criteria for AI/ML implementations -Challenges when implementing AI
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2022-42247
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-03
pfSense v2.5.2 was discovered to contain a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the browser.php component. This vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary web scripts or HTML via a crafted payload injected into a file name.
CVE-2022-41443
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-03
phpipam v1.5.0 was discovered to contain a header injection vulnerability via the component /admin/subnets/ripe-query.php.
CVE-2022-33882
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-03
Under certain conditions, an attacker could create an unintended sphere of control through a vulnerability present in file delete operation in Autodesk desktop app (ADA). An attacker could leverage this vulnerability to escalate privileges and execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2022-42306
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-03
An issue was discovered in Veritas NetBackup through 8.2 and related Veritas products. An attacker with local access can send a crafted packet to pbx_exchange during registration and cause a NULL pointer exception, effectively crashing the pbx_exchange process.
CVE-2022-42307
PUBLISHED: 2022-10-03
An issue was discovered in Veritas NetBackup through 10.0.0.1 and related Veritas products. The NetBackup Primary server is vulnerable to an XML External Entity (XXE) Injection attack through the DiscoveryService service.